FAI Rally of Canberra 2000

Well the east coasts International Rally has come and gone for another year, and what an event it was.

Flash had been asked to be the Chief  Spectator Marshall and had in turn asked Coal and myself to be 2 of his Spectator Point Managers along with a Annelise from Canberra (our spy on the inside).

Flash and myself had been down there a few months earlier to plan the spectator points with Jenny from the organising committee. This had involved inspecting and planning at each point what gear was needed and how the points were to be set up prior to the event. Anyone who went to Canberra will testify to the work that had gone into these points this year. The Mineshaft even had tiered viewing areas bulldozed out of the forest.

Flash, Mum, Coal, Chris and myself  started down early on the Thursday morning thinking of a nice quite day just adding the finishing touches to the points. Rain all the way down had us worried though. Boy were we in for a surprise! The organisers had run out of people to set up the points, other than to erect some semi-permanent fences, and we had about 4 days work to do and less than 24 hours to do it in!  One silly person called Christian walked into rally base at this time and asked if they needed help with anything, so he was immediately seconded. Off we went, tackling Bobs first knowing that it was one of the biggest points and would require a lot of work to get ready. After that we knew we had a lot of roping off to do at Pipeline so it was next on the list. Then we had to set up some controlled crossings at the Mineshaft. The Mineshaft finally got us beat (for the time being) when it got too dark to do any more work there (Mullets without lights I hear you ask,  this was supposed to be a daylight rally). Back to rally base as we had a briefing to go to at 6-30pm, we got there about 7-30pm so that was close enough.

Up early on Friday cause we still had to finish the points before the speccies got there, and we finally had the job done (we thought). Annelise had control of Lees, which has got to be one of the best speccy points in Australia for the view alone, not to mention seeing the cars for about 4 kilometres before they get to you. Lees went off without much of a hitch and about a hundred speccies. Coal had the Mineshaft, which he reported as being great with all the improvements that had been made, with no major hassles being reported and a few hundred speccies in attendance. I had control of Wauks/Sinclairs for the day. First problem for the day was when I rolled up at the meet point to find out that they had no more Marshals left to give me. Just as well Buggsy had asked for a lift around for the weekend. A quick call to Flash at least got me 2 extra bodies so it was left to the four of us. We called for the Marshals to come to this point after they had finished at the Mineshaft,which they did,and this solved the problem. When the speccies started to roll up we got quite a surprise at just how popular this spot was, with it's man made jump just at the point after the cars had had about 1.5 kilometres to build up speed and a right angled turn just after the jump. No major problems just too much area for so few marshals to look after, but then that's just a challenge isn't it.

If  Friday went well, we (and the Organisers) were in for a real shock on Saturday. The Mineshaft (Annelise this time)had nearly 1000 people roll up for a look, which was about the number expected. I had Lees, which we all thought would see a few hundred roll up at most because of its distance from town and the dirt road to get there. I had scored three Marshals today so that should've been fine. WRONG !!!! When the speccies started to roll up they just kept coming and coming. Estimates were made at about 2000 people. Parking was about 2 kilometres down the road and about the same up the hill. No major problems other than sore feet for the speccies from walking so far. We went down to Wauks/Sinclairs to help out when we had finished and found it was no different. Expected figures we were told was about 1000, Police estimates were 5000. Although we all had more Marshals we still didn't have enough to have complete confidence, but,challenge passed again.

Saturday nights debrief was only concerned with one thing, get us more marshals.

Finishing the debrief at about 12-30am we went home to set the alarms for 4am for a real early start. I had "Bobs" which we calculated needed about 40 Marshals minimum to run successfully. Got to the setup to find I had 13. Quick call to Rally Base with an urgent request for 35 more Marshals. Their response,.......can they have 4 of the Marshals I had for road closures, .......final result they got 2. This was going to be real interesting !!! Bobs is a real people using point with 3 controlled crossings (4 people at each crossing) 2 hornblowers,2 whistleblowers (minimum) and approximately 1.5 kilometres of roadway to patrol before the actual speccie point. I knew this was going to be a rough day! Luckily for us the people of Canberra didn't want to get out of  bed too early and the crowds were down from the previous day, only approximately 500 rolled up. Same problems,same results over with Coal at Pipeline.

Results from the rally ..................Who cares. (If you really want them try www.roc.com.au )We had seen the best rallying on the East Coast for many a year and had really enjoyed the challenges that  had been thrown at us and somehow got though it all unscarred.